Half Way (dir: Daisy-May Hudson, 2016, cert PG)
Should be compulsory viewing. Your jaw will drop that in 21st century Britain families have to negotiate such an obstructive and labyrinthine system as local authority housing. If you’ve seen I, Daniel Blake you’ll recognise the themes but here, homeless Daisy-May Hudson has filmed her personal experiences on the front line of the UK’s homelessness tragedy and the toll it’s taken on her family. Exceptionally moving in parts. Screened as part of the mac’s Seeking Shelter season raising awareness of homelessness. Read our full preview here.
Mon 16 Jan 7pm & Tue 17 Jan 2pm at the mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham

Manchester By The Sea (dir: Kenneth Lonergan, 2017, cert 15)
It’s only January and we may have already seen the best movie of 2017. Kenneth Lonergan’s sharp study of loss and raging helplessness is an emotionally raw examination of the unsettlingly internal trauma of grief. Casey Affleck is astonishing and, most importantly, believable as a host of real world problems begin to crush the life of his character Lee. It’s a reality that the audience knows only too well and it’s this choking resonance that lends the film such awful power. Human experience laid bare. Beautifully scored, shot, acted and directed. In short, a masterpiece.
Mon 16 Jan to Thu 19 Jan at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/

Silence (dir: Martin Scorsese, 2016, cert 15)
A new Scorsese film is always cause for celebration, but when it’s a three hour biblical epic based on one of the greatest and most thoughtful books of the twentieth century it’s time to really stand up and take notice. The book in question; Silence, written by Shūsaku Endō, has been adapted for the screen before by Masahiro Shinoda in 1971 and we humbly suggest you seek this incredible work out too. Scorsese’s vision is a technological masterpiece of sumptuous cinema but it can at times feel as if the audience have been forgotten and it certainly drags in places. However, the almost Kurtzian quest to find Liam Neeson’s apostate priest Ferreira is a beguiling spectacle that will live long in the memory. Be warned, there is some excruciating on screen violence.
Mon 16 Jan to Thu 19 Jan various times at Lighthouse, Chubb Buildings, Fryer Street,  Wolverhampton WV1 1HT £8 light-house.co.uk/

Cathy Come Home (dir: Ken Loach, 1966, cert PG) + Q & A
Watched by an astonishing 12 million people, a quarter of the UK population at the time, viewers had never seen anything like it before. Though Loach himself has downplayed the influence of the film, it led to the formation of the homeless charity Crisis and raised awareness levels to a degree that had never been seen before. Actress Carol White was given money in the street for years afterwards by people convinced she was actually homeless. A landmark in social realist film-making. Followed by a Q&A with Cath Gilliver from SIFA Fireside, Jacqui Kennedy – Acting Director for Place at Birmingham City Council and Philippa Jones from Bromford Housing. Screened as part of the mac’s Seeking Shelter season raising awareness of homelessness. Read our full preview here.
Tue 17 Jan 6pm at the mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham

Trainspotting (dir: Danny Boyle, 1996, cert 18)
Get ready for the much anticipated sequel by revisiting the seminal original that scorched through the cinematic landscape in a coruscating blitz of drugs and violence some twenty years ago. A dizzying spectacle of addiction and anomie that tapped into a subculture too squeamish for some with an unwavering swagger. Revolutionising the way music was used in film its soundtrack is as socially piquant as the lives of Renton et al. A gloriously riotous piece of relevant cinema, let’s just hope the sequel can live up to its heady drug addled heights. Altogether now; shouting, lager lager lager lager. There will be no pre screening adverts so don’t be late.
Tue 17 Jan 8.25pm at Lighthouse, Chubb Buildings, Fryer Street,  Wolverhampton WV1 1HT £8 lighthousemediacentre

La Cage aux Folles (dir: Édouard Molinaro. 1978, cert 15)
Édouard Molinaro’s high camp classic 1978 adaptation of Jean Poiret’s play is a hilarious riot as gay couple Renato and Albin, owner and star of the St. Tropez drag club, welcome Renato’s son, unexpected fiance and her uptight parents. A succession of comedic set pieces ensue ranging from subtle to sledgehammer hard with the laughs coming thick and fast. Of course, in true sitcom style, the more our heroes try to hide the truth from the ultra conservative in-laws the funnier it gets. Imagine Fawlty Towers as a gay nightclub with Basil in drag and on hyperdrive.
Tue 17 Jan 7.30pm at Birmingham LGBT, 38/40 Holloway Circus Birmingham B1 1EQ Free www.journeyfilmclub.co.uk/whats-on.html

La La Land (dir: Damien Chazelle, 2016, cert 12A)
A film that’s probably going to clean up at the Oscars, this throwback to the heady days of the musical and its uplifting reanimation of what had cheerily been described as an ‘extinct genre’ in some quarters, is an unexpectedly thrilling delight. The world definitely needs more free form jazz musicals and more films featuring Ryan Gosling tap dancing for that matter. The saccharine overload might not be to everyone’s taste and the opening show tune is a bit cringe, but just let yourselves go and enjoy the dizzying thrill of blossoming love. You won’t regret it.
Fri 20 Jan to Thu 2 Feb various times at the mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham Thu 12 Jan to Thu 26 Jan at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/ Fri 13 Jan to Thu 19 Jan various times at Lighthouse, Chubb Buildings, Fryer Street,  Wolverhampton WV1 1HT £8 light-house.co.uk/ Mon 16 Jan to Thu 19 Jan various times at Mailbox 116 The Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RF £13.30 www.everymancinema.com

The Gold Rush (dir: Charlie Chaplin, 1925, cert U)
The Little Tramp comes into his own in what was Chaplin’s favourite silent film from his formidable oeuvre. The brick throwing slapstick of his earlier incarnations is replaced with an earnest and heartwarming subtlety. There’s still an avalanche of incredible sight gags not least of which is Chaplin eating his own shoe. Our favourite is the sweet dance of the bread rolls. Unlike his early shorts where, to be frank, the Little Tramp was a bit of an unloveable hooligan really, you will be rooting for him throughout and hoping against hope that he gets the gold and the girl. The girl in question is the beautiful Miss American Pageant winner Georgia Hale, swoons. Part of the Cinematic Time Machine season.
Sat 21 Jan 12pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/

Battleship Potemkin (dir: Sergei Eisenstein, 1925, cert PG)
One of the greatest films ever made by one of the greatest filmmakers to have ever lived. Battleship Potemkin stands repeated viewings and is a master class of tension, scale, bravura and polemical art. Each frame of its relatively short five act running time is composed with a genius understanding of audience manipulation and narrative movement. Most renown for the incredible Odessa steps scene as Cossack troops implacably march through protesters gunning them down, one of cinema’s greatest set pieces. Watching this on the big screen will take your breath away. An essential part of film history. Part of the Cinematic Time Machine season.
Sun 22 Jan 12pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/

6 of the Best Fest: A Celebration of UK Women Filmmakers at the Mockingbird.
A stellar lineup of films being screened at the Mockingbird all weekend including Alice Lowe’s Prevenge. Most films are followed by Q&A’s with the filmmakers themselves. We can’t wait. Read our full preview here.
Fri 20 Jan to Sun 22 Jan at Mockingbird The Custard Factory, B9 4AA Birmingham £7 per film or £30 festival pass Mockingbird

Mon 16 Jan - Sun 22 Jan
Giles Logan
Published on:
Sun 1 Jan 2017